Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant 旺

From all the Chinese restaurants I have been going to lately, my new phase has been Shanghai cuisine. It seems like my interest in Shanghai cuisine started when I thought of it as an "escape" from eating Chinese food, and that I am happy with XLBs and pan fried buns for dinner. 

I visited Shanghai Wonderful before Shanghai River but since I lost sleep over Shanghai River, I posted about that restaurant first. Also, since Shanghai River pretty much killed my mood for Shanghainese, my new phase is now Taiwanese cuisine. It is a bit funny that I am Taiwanese but rarely visit those restaurants since I never get "full", nor am I a fan of noodles. Anyways, continuing with Shanghai Wonderful, the restaurant was a bit busy and luckily there was no wait. The restaurant looks fairly clean, has plenty of seats and the staff is friendly.

The hot and sour soup literally came within one minute after ordering. I always assume that most restaurants pre-make their soups and have huge pots in the kitchen; however, apparently they are not supposed to do that.

Shanghai Wonderful does and I do not really think it is a big deal, although some people do such as BF (why?). As for the taste, the soup tastes plain, not hot or sour and tastes very mild… resembling most complimentary hot and sour soups with the purchase of a meal. Despite the plain tasting soup, there are the bare minimum ingredients of bamboo shoot, fungus, carrot, tofu and green onion, but nothing else to make the soup taste better or stand out.

The prawns are nicely pan fried, have a slight sweet flavour and does not taste as sweet as Top Shanghai Cuisine's (missing that nice sweet caramelized candy flavour). This is the part that gets a bit weird… after the first two dishes arrived, the rest of the dishes came out within FIVE minutes. Honest to truth, only five minutes… a bit too fast for my liking.

The cut of chicken is the thigh, leg and wing. Despite having a good meaty piece, the chicken does not taste tender and has a barely there hint of wine taste. Also, the chicken tastes like it has been refrigerated with the sauce for too long. Most of the pieces of chicken tastes very hard and resembles the jello-like texture after oil has been refrigerated.

The waitress cuts the pork before serving and I was a bit upset LOL. I like to keep the squared shape and remove piece by piece, rather than having everything mixed. The sauce tastes flavourful, neither too sweet nor salty, and has a rich fatty taste. Also, the fatty skin tastes extremely tender and requires minimal chewing. However, the lean portion of the pork does not taste tender enough and tastes quite chewy.


The skin has a thin layer without being too thin to break, and the xiao long bao tastes juicy with tasty pork. However, although the meat tastes a bit gritty, it tastes juicy and alright. There are better tasting XLBs but this one is not bad.

2 3/4lb CREAM AND BUTTER SAUCE CRAB ($12.75/lb).
I am biased against ordering crab or lobster at Shanghainese restaurants because I feel like they are nothing special. Also, I feel obligated to try more Shanghai cuisine dishes.

As for the sauce, it tastes pretty well executed and has the proper cream and butter flavours. Props to Shanghai Wonderful since quite a few Chinese restaurants fail at cream and butter sauces. By the way, when I say pretty well executed, that is translation for it is pretttttty good. The only complaint would be the pink plastic crab crackers, there were quite a few bits of shell from another customer's crab! Blech.

The pan fried pork buns taste juicy without tasting oily but after the first bite, the grease from the bottom from bursts into the mouth… very unpleasant. I got these packed up and tried eating them the next day without heating, hoping the oil would have been soaked into the bun and somehow blend together. Unfortunately though, the oil just sat on the bottom and was still too greasy to eat.

As for the pan fried crab meat buns, the juice tastes like pure oil which I have never experienced before. Although of course it is not pure oil, it oddly resembles that taste. I have no idea what kind of juice this is supposed to be but it really resembles pure oil and the crab meat tastes very unappealing. Furthermore, for both orders of the pan fried buns, the bottoms are crispy but beyond greasy to the point that even the bottom of the buns have oil bubbles. Meaning, there really was too much oil used. Also, the oil practically kept dripping from each bun after being picked up! Honestly, despite never being the type to complain about greasy food because I assume it is a given when dining out, both orders of pan fried buns are extremely greasy. I usually do the eye roll when I hear people complaining about grease too, I guess I understand what they are talking about now. 

- Attentive and friendly service (our table was near the waitresses standing area if that makes a difference)
- Properly made cream and butter sauce (3.5/5)

- There is better
- Overly greasy inedible pan fried buns (0/5)
- Dishes came a bit too fast… five minutes? For two people? Come on!

- Restaurant is more clean compared to Top Shanghai Cuisine. However, the food tastes better at TSC

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 3/5

Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant 旺 on Urbanspoon

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